Portions and spells are on my mind as Halloween approaches and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the spirit of the season than with a glass of Strega, a bewitching liqueur from Italy. This potent potion was created in 1860 by Guiseppe Alberti and like most spirits, there are a number of stories behind its origins. Alberti was from the town of Benevento, once invaded and occupied by barbarians who left a legacy of magical witchcraft that caused Benevento to be known as “la città delle streghe” the city of witches. Depending on who you believe Alberti received the secret recipe from either witches or local monks and developed a natural digestivo made from 70 intoxicating herbs including cinnamon from Ceylon, Florentine iris, Italian Apennine juniper, Samnite mint, fennel, anise and honey tinged saffron.
The spell binding mythology behind Strega was co-opted by a 1940’s ad campaign designed to link Liquore Strega with romantic liaisons and the advertising motto “once you drink Strega together you will never drink it apart.” In this way Strega has become part of yet another legend that couples who drink it together will remain united in love forever.
Today Alberti S.p.A. Strega is used in a wide variety of specialty products and as a unique ingredient in craft cocktails, candies and confections including the aromatic and intoxicating Milk Pan di Campobasso.
A domed cake prepared with “liqueur milk”, a mixture of milk, Strega liqueur, sugar, saffron, vanilla and lemon peel gives the cake its typical taste and yellow color, a practical application of distillate magic.